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Obama Wants Allies To Go After WikiLeaks 1088

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they're-gonna-need-a-blimp dept.
krou writes "Coming on the back of human rights groups criticizing WikiLeaks, American officials are saying that the Obama administration is pressuring allies such as Australia, Britain, and Germany to open criminal investigations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and to try limit his ability to travel. 'It's not just our troops that are put in jeopardy by this leaking. It's UK troops, it's German troops, it's Australian troops — all of the NATO troops and foreign forces working together in Afghanistan,' said one American diplomatic official, who added that other governments should 'review whether the actions of WikiLeaks could constitute crimes under their own national-security laws.'"
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Obama Wants Allies To Go After WikiLeaks

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  • How does (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:06PM (#33216266)
    How does a little egg on the Governments face = endangering troops? Seems to me sending them to Afghanistan and Iraq puts them in more danger than anything wikileaks could ever publish.
    • Re:How does (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:10PM (#33216314)

      endangering troops

      They mean endangering their ability to lie effectively.

      • Lying for what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:29PM (#33216648)

        Let's not beat around the bush. What they REALLY mean is that wikileaks is threatening their justification for spending. Spending is what makes the business of government incredibly lucrative for the elite few, not lying. Lying is merely a means to more spending.

        The defense industry is worth billions of dollars per year, and the vast majority of that cash comes from government. The more money passing through the hands of the elite at the top, the better their position to exploit that flow of cash for personal gain.

        Am I saying that money is the primary motivator of war, and the underlying objective of defense spending? You're damn right I am.

        • "War Is a Racket" (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @03:56PM (#33219808) Homepage Journal

          Everyone should read War is a Racket [wikipedia.org], written by Marine Major General Smedley Butler [wikipedia.org] in the early 1930s:

          In War Is A Racket, Butler points to a variety of examples, mostly from World War I, where industrialists whose operations were subsidised by public funding were able to generate substantial profits essentially from mass human suffering.

          The work is divided into five chapters:

                1. War is a racket
                2. Who makes the profits?
                3. Who pays the bills?
                4. How to smash this racket!
                5. To hell with war!

          It contains this key summary:

                  "War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

          In another often cited quote from the book Butler says:

                  "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

          • Re:"War Is a Racket" (Score:5, Interesting)

            by AhabTheArab (798575) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:10PM (#33221176) Homepage

            An excellent read indeed, wish I had mod points. Smedley Butler is touted as a hero in Marine Corps boot camp. That's not inaccurate - he is a hero. He is one of the most decorated men in US Military history, with two Medals of Honor and a Brevet. What most Marines are not taught in boot camp is this side of him - when he started criticizing the motives behind the wars he was in (Philippines, Boxer Reb., Banana Wars) and was one of the first ones to talk about the Military Industrial Complex. Nor do they mention that he was essentially "in line" to be Commandant of the Marine Corps.. once again, until he started pointing out the collusion between Government and Big Business.

            He truly is a forgotten hero.

    • Re: How does (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:10PM (#33216332)

      How does a little egg on the Governments face = endangering troops? Seems to me sending them to Afghanistan and Iraq puts them in more danger than anything wikileaks could ever publish.

      Because it's actually about the egg. The troops are just an excuse.

      • Re: How does (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:42PM (#33216864)

        Bingo.

        Freedom of the press only applies to the press that the government can directly or indirectly influence and control. If the domestic press is so valiant, why is it that Wikileaks is left to uncover and document this sort of thing? Simply, because the press is largely fed by the people and processes they cover, much like game reviewers are fed by the game developers and publishers that they cover. Abide by their rules or be squeezed out in favor of others who will. And few bother with their own reporting anymore, beyond parroting press-releases dressed as AP news wire.

        I certainly don't take Wikileaks at face value, but they seem to be adhering closer to the true worth of a free press than anyone domestically.

        What absolutely baffles me is how many months after the "Collateral Murder" tape was released, we're all still watching our sit-coms, sipping our lattes, and arguing about Arizona and immigration and having mild debates over whether or not Wikleaks should give the government a tug-job instead of calling them out with documented evidence.

        I mean, if we as a nation aren't livid over watching a video of outright condoned and covered-up murder in our name and on our dime, then what are we ever going to be upset by? How much Lebron is going to earn on a basketball team and how much we love Twilight?

        This is why I get so upset at other seemingly meaningless stories, like the whole "girl quits job on whiteboard hoax". Because small unquestioned stories like that are indicative of the lack of questioning and critical thinking that people in general exhibit toward more vital stories like *these*.

        • Re: How does (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:09PM (#33217342)

          Are you going to take up arms and march on Washington?

          Didn't think so.

          But here's a dangerous question for you to ponder (dangerous in the sense that when I asked it in another forum, I was accused of making death threats and being a terrorist):

          How many people, armed, and descending on seats of government with the intent to kill treasonous legislators, judges, and executives, after deciding that no other recourse for their grievances was possible would it take for you to rise up and join them?

          10? 100? A thousand? A million? A force larger than the standing military forces combined? How many?

          Realize that to do this, you (a) have abandoned all hope in justice being available in the present government, and (b) have embraced the notion of dying on your feet for your beliefs instead of living on your knees: the liberty you might secure probably won't be your own. That's a heck of an altruistic stance to take.

          • Re: How does (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Psmylie (169236) * on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:47PM (#33217996) Homepage

            My answer to your question is that, if I truly believed my government to be corrupt beyond redemption and that the only way to recover would be to clean the slate and start over, it wouldn't really matter how many others were marching as well. I'd go alone, even if that meant I'd have to go all Guy Fawkes on the situation.

            The thing of it is, I don't believe our government, even as corrupt and lost as it currently is, is anywhere near irredeemable. Or, at least, pragmatically speaking, any worse than what we would replace it with after an armed uprising. The existing system to enact change CAN still work, if enough people actually learn and vote and get the right people into office. It all comes down to the fact that we simply get the government we deserve. Lazy and uninformed voters are the root of all the problems we have. Everything else (government corruption, stripping of liberties, etc) follows from that.

            If the vote is ever suspended, or if our current or future President enacts martial law for anything other than a verifiable emergency and refuses to end it once that emergency is over... yeah, that would be the kind of situation that would encourage me to take up arms.

    • Re:How does (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dc29A (636871) * on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:12PM (#33216354)

      I don't think the leaked Afghanistan war documents are a 'little egg'. It's clear proof that the war is lost and there is no hope for winning. This whole fuss about the leaked documents are a diversion for other serious issue the current administration failed with: BP, the economy, watered down regulations, broken campaign promisses, etc ...

      • Re:How does (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dreampod (1093343) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:17PM (#33216426)

        It is really sad. I want to like Obama, I really do but he and his administration/party make it so damn hard. While he is undoubtedly better than the Cheney/Bush administration, I strongly dislike how he is continuing the exact same types of policies in regards to 'national security' so that it legitimizes the horrendous evils that the previous administration engaged in rather than marking them out as significant abberations in the United States moral code.

        • Re:How does (Score:4, Insightful)

          by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:26PM (#33216598) Homepage

          I'm with you. I want to like Obama too. I'm not convinced that he is to blame. I am more inclined to believe that there are limits to what he can do in the face of extremely powerful opposition. I think that it wasn't until he assumed office that reality smacked him in the face. There are faceless and nameless people in power. There have been a good number of interesting journalistic works investigating these people. One of them is Dick Cheney's lawyer, for example. Wish I could remember his name. And there are countless other unknowns as well I am sure.

          I hoped that Obama was the new JFK. JFK was an ambitious leader who wanted to make great things happen. And the more he did, the more upset certain parties became. We know what happened to him. Obama is wise to choose his battles carefully.

          I want huge change. Obama won't deliver it. I doubt anyone can at this stage.

        • Re:How does (Score:5, Informative)

          by valeo.de (1853046) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:41PM (#33216848) Homepage
          Don't forget Guantanamo Bay. Didn't he win the election in part thanks to those promises to shut that hellhole down?
        • Re:How does (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dave420 (699308) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:50PM (#33216982)
          You have to remember that Obama can't change the current situation too much, even if he wanted to. He is still an American president, after all, and there are some things so deeply engrained in the US common psyche, across great swathes of the center of the political spectrum, that any attempt to change would result in the president being removed from office as humanly possible. Foreign policy and the military are two of those. The US, as long as it is capable of doing so, will always be the asshole bully of the world. It will always be drenched in hypocrisy, as it actively seeks to undermine democracies in order to further its own goals while simultaneously worshipping democracy at home like Jesus, and so on and so forth. It's the way of the world - superpowers are superassholes. It's been that way forever, and I doubt it will change.
      • Re:How does (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Duradin (1261418) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:55PM (#33217076)

        You can only win a war that doesn't exist in the history books.

        War was never declared. There is no clearly defined enemy. There is no victory condition. There is no exit strategy.

        Afghanistan is a conflict, not a war. Calling it a war gives it undue merit (and we ourselves haven't lived up to the standards that a 'lawful' war would require).

      • No context (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @02:09PM (#33218338)

        I don't think the leaked Afghanistan war documents are a 'little egg'. It's clear proof that the war is lost and there is no hope for winning. ...

        Bullshit. The Wikileaks documents a lot of out-of-context reports, mostly from low-level soldiers and unit commanders. Essentially, it's an internal bug-tracking database for the war.

        Look at any internal bug-tracking database for any reasonably-sized project and you'll immediately conclude that the project is a horrible steaming pile of crap that everyone hates. That does not necessarily mean that the project actually is worthless. Imagine what the MS Windows (or OS X, or whatever) internal bug database must be like. Millions of known, incompatibilities, crash reports, and unsubstantiated error reports. And yet MS and Apple make shit-tons of money from them, and millions of people use them every ay.

        Of course there are major problems with the war. It's a fucking war.

    • Re:How does (Score:5, Informative)

      by Godskitchen (1017786) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:12PM (#33216364)

      From TFA:

      "The initial document dump by WikiLeaks last month is reported to have disclosed the names of hundreds of Afghan civilians who have cooperated with NATO forces; the Taliban has threatened to hunt down the civilians named in the documents, a threat that human-rights organizations say WikiLeaks should take seriously."

      Maybe not troops, but civilians were apparently endangered.

      • Re:How does (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jedi Alec (258881) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:21PM (#33216516)

        Gotta love the wording...

        "The initial document dump by WikiLeaks last month is reported to have disclosed the names of hundreds of Afghan civilians (emphasis mine)

        In other words, "I didn't actually check it myself but I gotta write this piece so I'll just go with whatever sounds the worst"

        • Re:How does (Score:5, Interesting)

          by carp3_noct3m (1185697) <slashdot@@@warriors-shade...net> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:38PM (#33217830)

          I have in fact perused the data, and while it is overwhelming, I can assure you that I have yet to run across a single one with a name on it. I would like to know, exactly how many names were released, and examples. This entire thing stinks of craftily made government PR machine (the MMM included), to demonize Wikileaks. When they say it endangers troops, I call the bullshit, as they are simply using the age old tactic of misdirection of the public to focus ire at Wikileaks in order to minimize their fallout. Make no mistake, the real issue here is not Wikileaks, or that the documents were leaked (as I have explained in other posts, they tell those of us aware of the situation anything new, we always knew the war was going badly and that Pakistan is a problem) The issue is that we should not be there in the first place. If I send a squad of men to rush a machinegun next minutes before Arty is supposed to drop, and then someone says "Hey, I have information that this guy is sending guys unnecessarily to their deaths" Who is really endangering troops lives here? It is the entire military chain of command, and the politicians who are a threat to our troops well being! As I posted before, "Bottom line, Iraq and Afghanistan are literally not only unwinnable (barring decades and more of perseverance) but were and are indeed mismanaged, misunderstood, unnecessary, and even morally questionable."

    • Re:How does (Score:5, Insightful)

      by e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:30PM (#33216666)
      By revealing strategic/tactical information?
      By naming afghan civilians who cooperate with NATO troops?

      Abuses need to be reported. Fine. Just outing information for the sole purpose of outing information is plain stupid.
    • Re:How does (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bigpat (158134) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:53PM (#33217038)

      As George Bush and Hillary Clinton both so eloquently pointed out "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." and "Every nation has to either be with us, or against us. " respectively.

      As Orwell put it: "If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other."

      The logic is inescapable. When people take sides and start shooting at each other then they are going to start noticing who you line up with. There is no free press in war.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:08PM (#33216288)

    for bringing our own war criminals to justice.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:36PM (#33216780)

      Also make sure to say what war crime they committed as per 18USC2441. Then please provide evidence of said crime to at least the standard of a reasonable cause to believe (what is normally required for a grand jury indictment).

      If you are talking about the helicopter video then no, sorry. While there were civilian casualties, that is not illegal. War is not pleasant and the rules of war are very different from normal civilian law.

      So if you really believe there are people who need to be indicted, then let's here specifics. If you are just grandstanding and/or talking without understanding what a war crime really is, then please stuff it.

      • by Bemopolis (698691) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:41PM (#33216856)
        I'm pretty sure he was referring to *cough*cough* higher-ups in the previous administration. Violations of the Geneva Convention are war crimes a priori.
        • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:59PM (#33217174)

          Violations of the Geneva Convention are war crimes a priori.

          I think if you check you'll find that no-one in the previous Administration violated the Geneva Conventions.

          Alas, while it's still inconvenient as hell, the only part of the Geneva Conventions binding on the USA are the parts we're actually signatory to.

          Even more inconvenient, the parts we didn't sign onto include all those bits about treating guerrillas as the same as soldiers....

        • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:05PM (#33217282)
          Geneva Convention doesn't apply to just any asshole with a gun (a pretty good description of both Taliban and Al-Qaeda), only to uniformed soldiers of an official army of an actual recognized country and to unarmed civilians. Armed people in civilian clothes using civilian facilities, unmarked vehicles and tactics like IEDs and suicide bombers are a fair game and have been routinely shot on the spot in every war without any legal repercussions.
  • You know you've made the big time when the Big O goes after ya through diplomatic channels. :p

  • What about the US? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by warpmoon (654097) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:10PM (#33216328)
    What about investigations into the crimes that US troops (among others) and people higher up in the chain of command have conducted?
    Why do they never get put on trial and punished?

    Naive to think that they ever will be perhaps, but still...
  • I love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:11PM (#33216334) Homepage

    "These documents that this website released endanger the lives of men and women around the globe. THESE DOCUMENTS. THESE DOCUMENTS RIGHT HERE."

    If you don't want people to know about what's in the documents, stop fucking talking about them.

  • by alexo (9335) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:11PM (#33216348) Journal

    The US is just doing what it does best: being a bully.

  • by dreampod (1093343) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:13PM (#33216378)

    They would get a lot more support for this sort of action if the leaked documents were legitimately classified due to national secrets rather than just because they are embarassing. Revealing that the US government has been lying to its citizens and the world about what is happening in Afganistan and Iraq is certainly something they wouldn't want but keeping the electorate in the dark prevents them from providing direction to the country by electing officials to serve its aims

  • Infoquake... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rwven (663186) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:13PM (#33216380)

    Anyone read the Jump 225 Trilogy by David Louis Edelman? This garbage sounds like a page right out of those books... The govt needs to keep their mouths shut and their hands off before they end up looking even stupider than they already do. Information wants to be free. If wikileaks dies, it's not like something else won't come up to replace it.

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:15PM (#33216404)

    “It’s amazing how Assange has overplayed his hand,” a Defense Department official marveled. “Now, he’s alienating the sort of people who you’d normally think would be his biggest supporters.”

    You know, you could replace Assange's name in this quote with Obama's and it would read equally true. Trying to drag us Europeans in as allies to support what looks like a war on exposed government cover-ups will not do wonders for how the US government is perceived over here.

  • How about that... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maugle (1369813) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:17PM (#33216432)
    Gosh, it's as if our government doesn't appreciate it when people leak videos of our soldiers murdering civilians! You'd think they'd be grateful, since it gives them a more accurate understanding of why the civilians there are turning to extremism.
  • by CedarPlank (873652) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:18PM (#33216458)
    I'll do the Glenn Greenwald thing and point out the pathetic "stenographic reporting". When you anonymously quote a political body supporting itself as news, you are a tool of that political body. Here are the sources cited in the article:

    American officials say
    Officials tell The Daily Beast
    American officials confirmed last month
    Now, the officials say,
    an American diplomatic official
    a Defense Department official marveled.
    American officials say.
    An American military official tells The Daily Beast
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:19PM (#33216488) Homepage

    I know I will hear a lot of counter-arguments to this but I'm going to say it anyway.

    The documents were leaked by people who are in a position of disagreement with their orders and the behavior of the military and political officials. Simply saying "I don't like it" isn't enough of a statement for anyone's needs or purposes. If they are in the know and have evidence that "bad things" are happening, presenting proof of these bad things is the only true means of expression.

    The U.S. and its involvements (interference) in the affairs of other sovereign nations is simply not appreciated by the majority of the world and this is especially true more recently. If there is anything that threatens the U.S. national security more than anything else, it is the increased disapproval of the U.S. in the world. People who are intent on sharing facts and truth wouldn't be as much of a problem if the U.S. was on the straight and narrow.

    The notion of "if you haven't been doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to fear" has been used by governments against its citizens for a very long time. But when directed against governments, we see a pretty different set of standards.

    • by bobetov (448774) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:44PM (#33216894) Homepage

      I'm not going to jump on you, but you're living up to your handle here a bit.

      Prosecuting war (or police actions, or whatnot) is an ugly business. It has to be - armed men, bombs, etc are dangerous. Soldiers are fallible. They have seconds to make the right call, and quite often, screw up. This is a fact of war, and no one disputes it.

      In an ideal world, full transparency would be great. If a country were being responsible in its usage of force, for every mis-called bomb strike or innocent victim there would be hundreds of examples of making the right call, calling off the troops just in time, doing the job professionally. A neutral reviewer could say "Yes, there were several major errors, but on the whole, the US troops are doing well in a very difficult situation."

      But that is not how the world actually works. One single graphic image, video, or similar can be taken from the overall picture, blown up, put on the front page of newspapers, and tar the entire country and all its soldiers. We see this all the time with politics in the US - good people done in by a goofy on-camera moment (Dean's scream comes to mind) or poorly chosen word or phrase (potatoe!).

      This is not to say that all transparency is bad. Simply that full transparency, in this real world we live in, is not all good. We still need something like wikileaks for the next Mai Lai massacre, or similar, where the authorities who should prosecute those who willfully screw up fail to take action. But we don't need full 24/7 coverage of every piece of the conflict. And in my personal opinion, the most recent set of disclosures crossed that line.

      We aren't responsible enough as a society at viewing all that information fairly to be trusted with it indiscriminately.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:21PM (#33216508)

    Maybe a week or so ago. He simultaneously stated that there was nothing new or dangerous in the leaked documents, yet called it irresponsible for WikiLeaks for release this information. Normally, I'd take into consideration the "this will harm our intelligence assets" argument, but this has been going on for 9 years and every time we get a peek behind the curtain, we see that the public face on the war is a complete lie.

  • Journalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:22PM (#33216530)

    Wikileaks is journalism, and this is a test of the American principle of "Freedom of the Press".

    Sometimes the press publishes embarrassing, inconvenient, or dangerous information.
    Those are the times when society is asked, "Is the freedom to publish a core value enshrined in a special place in our society or not?"

    As an American, I hope the answer continues to remain "Yes".

  • What Crime? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:23PM (#33216552)

    For the sake of argument, let's assume that releasing these documents was morally and/or pragmatically wrong/harmful. I'm not entirely convinced of that, but I'll cede the point for this discussion.

    What actual *crime* was committed in releasing these documents, that would justify a criminal investigation, limited travel, and general harassment by the government? Certainly the person with original access to the documents committed a crime in releasing them to unauthorized persons, but once that happened, what further crimes have occurred that would justify governmental interference?

  • by oreaq (817314) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:23PM (#33216554)
    From TFA: "The initial document dump by WikiLeaks last month is reported to have disclosed the names of hundreds of Afghan civilians who have cooperated with NATO forces". Has anyone checked if this is true? Are the names of Afghan civilians in the disclosed documents?
  • by Pengel the squib (300408) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:25PM (#33216582)

    So when did reporting secrets become illegal Reporters do it all the time, it's their job. Half the time it's the politicians who leak the information in the first place. I really didn't see much in the stuff that everyone didn't already know or suspect anyway. Anyone remember the Pentagon Papers?

  • Important to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Robotron23 (832528) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:25PM (#33216590) Homepage

    The leaked files were in possession of Wikileaks for months. During that time they contacted the Pentagon for assistance in minimizing the damage to informants that would likely be a consequence of the leaks.

    The Pentagon and US military railed against the idea of helping to mitigate the damage and condemned the notion of making this data public, and so after a few months of fruitless negotiation the entire 91,000+ files were leaked unaltered. The perception that this all happened in the space of a few days is false and not worth entertaining.

    Do note that Assange has subsequently been cavalier over the notion that people could die should the Taliban employ the documents to locate them; his comments have been of the blunt 'ends justify the means' flavour. Whether a person's life is worth the US losing this amount of face over controversial events in Afghanistan is down to individual perception but my point is that this situation isn't quite as clear cut as much of the mass media depict - and this goes for those in favour Wikileaks actions as well as those against.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:20PM (#33217520) Journal

      and so after a few months of fruitless negotiation the entire 91,000+ files were leaked unaltered.

      What now?
      My understanding is that (1) Wikileaks tried to redact names from the documents (and wasn't completely successful)
      and (2) Wikileaks held back 15,000 or so files which they deemed too sensitive to release right now.

      Unfortunately, the story about Wikileaks' failures at redacting is going to (in the long term) completely overshadow the massive document dump.

  • by eepok (545733) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:27PM (#33216610) Homepage

    The key part of the article, of course on the second page, is the following:

    "Pentagon wants to bankrupt us by refusing to assist review," he tweeted on Monday, referring to the effort by WikiLeaks to convince the Defense Department to join in reviewing the additional 15,000 documents to remove the names of Afghan civilians and others who might be placed in danger by its release. "Media won’t take responsibility. Amnesty won’t. What to do?"

    Wikileaks went to the Pentagon and/or White House and asked them to assist in the redaction of sensitive things... like the names of civilians. They refused to do so thinking it would prevent the release of the documents. Instead, Wikileaks simply did a cost-benefit analysis and found that the potential danger of the Taliban acquiring the documents, sifting through them, picking out suspect names, and then targeting them was not as valuable as releasing all these documents to the public.

    Now, the government is going to try to demonize Wikileaks in every possible way... not because they're endangering lives or missions, but because they are willing to unveil damaging secrets. It's the Pentagon Papers all over again. The government will lose this battle in the long run.

    Then again, as the immediate effects of the leaking of the Pentagon Papers showed, the public doesn't care. Ideally, people would be marching on DC, enraged at military mismanagement and lack of direction, but, just like before, they get excited by the sensationalism and then they forget.

    Lose-Lose

    • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:16PM (#33217454) Homepage
      "Media won't take responsibility. Amnesty won't. What to do?"

      Take responsibility himself? Or is that asking too much? Why is it everyone else's responsibility?

      Instead, Wikileaks simply did a cost-benefit analysis and found that the potential danger of the Taliban acquiring the documents, sifting through them, picking out suspect names, and then targeting them was not as valuable as releasing all these documents to the public

      Who is competent at Wikileaks to do such a cost-benefit analysis, though?
  • by jameskojiro (705701) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:29PM (#33216650) Journal

    Why don't we outsource our War on Terror to India or China, we could pay them 1/4 for what we currently pay and they would be happy for the money. Save money and if we outsource to the Chinese we won't have to worry about the enemy not understanding we are serious.

  • Bush light? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by formfeed (703859) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:35PM (#33216742)
    It has been noted before, that none of the Bush administration "special powers" have been revoked yet. The same overreaching control, but since it's the good guys now, it should be okay..

    So, this doesn't come as a surprise either. Similar foreign policy, not as blatantly arrogant as Bush, but not better as Clinton's. The right answer to the leaked documents would have been: "Of course the documents talk about human right abuses. That's why we have these documents. It just shows that we are investigating every claim and are really committed to justice..." Next step: work with international support (Amnesty International) to have names redacted ("in the interest of Afghan civilians" maybe). Not the dumb old "really bad if our dark secrets become public"-statement. That might work with some super-patriotic Americans but will damage any trust other countries had in the new administration.

    The European reaction to American pressure tactics? Quite predictable. European politicians will complain but play along, but the public will grin even more about the American claim that they are the champion of free speech.

    Not that the government wouldn't have a justified interest in keeping at least some war related documents secret for at least a period of time, but the way they are going after the leak is more damaging than the leak itself. It reminds people of past cover ups. Obama is about to loose all the good-will bonus he got after the election. His hope-slogan carried the hope that things could be done differently and not the same-old. Now it's the same old "pressure the Allies"? Well, that's how Reagan created the Green party in Germany. Maybe Obama can help the pirate party.

  • by GrumpySteen (1250194) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:38PM (#33216812)

    A quote from an "American diplomatic official" becomes the Obama administration's position in an article and then becomes what Obama himself wants in the /. story that links to it.

    The next step will probably be someone linking to the /. article and suggesting that God wants the world's nations to rise up against Wikileaks.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:22PM (#33217556) Homepage Journal

    How about their credit scores? How about their social security numbers? Why isn't the theft of their identities treated as a netional security concern? Why isn't the buying and selling of their medical records, shopping history, the web pages they surf all a matter of national security?

    Why is Wikileaks being targeted, but not TransUnion, Experian and Equifax? The government can't have it both ways (well yes, they can and often do), as it seems they are setting a double standard. It's OK to publish information about the troops if you're selling it to advertisers, but not OK to publish on Wikileaks?

    Who's to say that the information TransUnion is selling is any less a threat than what's in those redacted documents? Imagine a soldier with a bad credit history being pressured to do something against national interests by someone claiming they can "fix" the credit history of the soldier...

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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